Surrounded on all sides by mountain ridges, Gatlinburg is a small town with big opportunities for outdoor adventure. Situated at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains, the surrounding area boasts hiking, skiing, whitewater rafting and one-of-a-kind vistas. But there’s more to the “Crown Jewel of the Smokies” than just the great outdoors. Quirky amusement parks, annual festivals and the allure of Appalachian living are front and center in this unique Tennessee getaway.
Bears and Beauty
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the country, and for good reason. The park has 800 miles of trails for all levels and historic lodgings that shed light on the lives of Appalachia’s earliest settlers. Favorite activities include the driving Cades Cove Loop and touring the Cataloochee Valley, with waterfall hikes and opportunities to see the park’s famous black bears.
Set Out for Adventure
Camping, fishing and picnicking are possible across the sprawling park, and the experienced guides and rangers at the visitor centers can help you get the most out of your trip. For an even more exciting outdoors adventure, head to the banks of the Pigeon River for some of the area’s best whitewater rafting.
Above it All
There’s no better way to get the lay of the land in Gatlinburg than a trip on the aerial tramway that connects downtown to the Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area. Running every 20 minutes throughout the day, the 2.1-mile ride offers breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg’s downtown skyline. The tramway deposits riders at a recreation center featuring an ice skating rink, waterslides, alpine roller coasters, wildlife encounter exhibits and more.
Sharks and Sights
The small town is also known for its assortment of unique attractions, including the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, which features underwater shark viewing tunnels and other exotic sea creatures. A ride up the 407-foot-tall Gatlinburg Space Needle offers stellar views.
For More Information
Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development